“Please, Mommy! Don’t Go!” my three year old cried out. My chest tensed up, and I could feel a tear or two welling up in my eyes as I pried my daughter’s hand off of my arm while struggling to comfort her as I left her with the teacher who was trying to console and distract her with an activity or toy as I left for work. What a difference a week makes! Quinn went from being excited the first week to adamantly voicing her dislike of being left at school by her father and me in the second week. We’ve explained how fun school is and how it’s great to meet new friends and learn from the teacher, but she is still somewhat resistant, especially considering that this is her first school experience.
Actually, she mainly cries for us not to go during the initial drop-off, and the teacher has reassured us that she is smiling, having fun and interacting with the other children for the rest of the day. So, we’ve been trying to come up with a way to help with the transition from home-life to school life in the morning.
Apparently, Quinn had the answer all along; it was me who was not receptive to the idea because I wasn’t sure if it would be acceptable by the teacher. “Can Grover please come with me, Mommy?” Quinn would ask in such a sweet yet desperate voice. I suggested that she could bring him for show and tell to which she quipped, “Mommy, Grover is my friend, not a toy. We bring toys for show and tell, not friends.”
On this past Friday, we had a talk in the car before heading into the preschool building, and she seemed to be doing okay. She asked again if Grover could come with her, and I said that he could but needed to stay in her book bag, and I’d ask the teacher if it was okay for Quinn to nap with him. Quinn was fine with this compromise, but as I hung up her book bag and little jacket, tears began to form in her eyes.
As I gave her a hug and tried to console her, the teacher saw that Quinn was visibly upset and asked, “Where’s Grover, Quinn?” I was surprised at this inquiry. How did she know about Grover? Maybe Quinn mentioned him during nap time or when they were talking about friends or toys at some point. I asked, “Is it okay that she has Grover?” The teacher smiled and nodded, “Of course, she can have Grover!” She then looked at Quinn as I handed Grover to her from the book bag, “Your friend Grover can spend a little time with you this morning, and then you’ll be able to put him away in your book bag until nap time. Okay, Quinn.” Her tears subsided, and she smiled and clung to Grover. Quinn was going to be okay. I later found out that my husband allowed Quinn to bring Grover on that Thursday but just didn’t tell me.
While some people may think children should not be permitted to have “security blankets,” such as a binkie, favorite toy or an actual favorite blanket that provides comfort, I think it is sometimes necessary to get them through a major change or transition. I am so grateful to Grover, for he has provided my daughter with some comfort during this major change, and when I picked her up, she immediately informed me, “Grover and I had a fun day at school Mommy!” Hearing her say this really made my day because it truly did upset me to see her so distraught.
All the best,